Tanya Knox: administered anti-allergy drug to save a man's life
A Tipperary pharmacist saved the life of a passer-by when she administered adrenaline to a man who presented with life threatening anaphylaxis.
Tanya Knox was working in Anna Kelly chemist and pharmacy, Martyrs Road, Nenagh, on Tuesday, November 26, when a man came into the pharmacy with a severe rash and facial swelling.
Ms Knox said she noticed straight away the man was experiencing a serious life-threatening allergic reaction.
“He complained his throat was tightening and my training kicked in. I took charge, requested a staff member to phone an ambulance and to inform them that we have a case of anaphylaxis,” said Tanya.
She asked another staff member to retrieve the defibrillator for the worst-case scenario.
“I grabbed the adrenaline and brought the patient to the consultation room.
“My pharmacist colleague came to assist and calmed the patient by talking to him. I remembered the words of the trainer telling us never to delay administering adrenaline and I gave two shots of adrenaline.
“The swelling started to subside, and I prepped more adrenaline.
“At this stage emergency services were on speaker phone and I began setting up the defibrillator praying I would not have to use it. Thankfully, emergency services arrived promptly, and they took over,” she said.
Ms Knox said the experience clearly showed the vital role pharmacists play in primary care.
Ms Knox said that pharmacists were open, accessible, trained and ready and the man left the pharmacy alive. “Having received my qualifications in 2012, I was proud to have earned the title of pharmacist knowing it meant something profound in the community. As a pharmacist I wanted to make a difference and help others. By administering the appropriate medical care to this passer-by, I made a vital, lifesaving intervention. The patient’s life was saved within two minutes. He would not have made it to A&E,” she said.
However, Ms Knox said that since qualifying, she had become disillusioned and disillusionment had spread to both college graduates and students to such an extent there was a serious lack of pharmacists in the country.
“A lot of pharmacists are choosing other career paths and if things don’t change fewer pharmacists means fewer pharmacies which means that man may have died,” she said.
Ms Knox is an employee pharmacist in Anna Kelly Chemist, Nenagh where the event occurred.
She is also the Co-Director of Coffey’s Pharmacy in Roscrea, which she co-owns with her husband, Paul Knox, and in which she also works part-time.